Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Daicon IV and otaku culture in NYC

Reposted from my Daicon webpage:

Japan Society
(The Japan Society building in New York City)
  • From April 8th - July 24th, the Japan Society in New York City is running an exhibit called Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture, curated by Takashi Murakami. The art of Murakami and his collaborators is inspired by otaku culture and also serves to critically evaluate its role in contemporary (mainstream) Japanese culture. Their work is simultaneously entertaining, cute, and provocative, whether you are new to otaku culture or a seasoned veteran. In addition to contemporary Japanese art, a good deal of the exhibit focuses on the history of otaku culture and its most important icons. The Daicon IV Opening Animation is featured prominently in the gallery, running on a constant loop, accompanied by literally hundreds of original Daicon IV cels and sketches on display (covering a large wall)--a magnificent collection that you're not ever likely to see again. If you're a Daicon fan, and you can make it to New York City, you definitely have to check it out!

    More information on the exhibit can be found here: Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture

  • Also, the exhibition catalog--a beautifully bound book full of photos, illustrations, and essays--is now available. The book also includes some Daicon IV screenshots and original art, as well as discussion of its significance.

  • On June 9th, I will be presenting at the Japan Society as part of the lecture series accompanying the exhibit. The panel discussion I'll be on is called Fanatics, Cuties & Geeks: The Otaku Phenomenon & its Impact Abroad. I'll be talking mostly about otaku culture in America, based on insights gleaned from my dissertation research on otaku. More info on that talk can be found here: Fanatics, Cuties & Geeks: The Otaku Phenomenon & its Impact Abroad

  • On June 11th, also at the Japan Society, I will be moderating a workshop called Why is Anime So Cool? Otaku in America (a panel discussion for teens). More information here: Why is Anime So Cool? Otaku in America

If you attend, and we haven't met, feel free to find me afterwards and introduce yourself. I'm always happy to meet new people.

Hopefully, I'll see some familiar faces there as well. ^_^

Sunday, April 24, 2005

lainspotting v2

Welcome to the new version of lainspotting, home of my ongoing commentaries on otaku culture, science, technology, and culture in general, with an emphasis on subculture. Those are pretty broad categories, I know, but what you won't find here are daily accounts of my everyday life, political commentary, fiction, etc. (I'll save those things for other venues). I'll try to keep things on-topic, and even then, I should have plenty to talk about. That said, I probably won't post something new every day, especially since I want my writings to be fairly long on average. The best way to keep up with lainspotting, therefore, is to subscribe to its newsfeed.

[New to newsfeeds? If you use Opera, click on the "RSS" button that appeared inside your address bar right next to this website's address. If you use Firefox, click on the orange button at the bottom right of your browser window. If you use Internet Explorer, you probably want to switch to a different browser.]

The history of lainspotting

work.jpg What is "lainspotting", anyway? One of my websites is called thought experiments lain, which is an information site about serial experiments lain, a 13-episode television anime from 1998. As part of that website, I ran a blog-like column called lainspotting, where I discussed lain-related news and other topics that interested me. It was all made with old-fashioned hand-coded HTML, so updates were tedious, and I always have 4 or 5 projects going on at once, which made updating even more infrequent.

With new and easy-to-use blogging tools, however, and wanting to write more about issues surrounding culture and technoscience, it finally made sense for me to start this new version of lainspotting.

Here's the original description from lainspotting (version 1):

lainspotter: One whose hobby is watching and compiling information about lain.
Hence lainspotting; lainspot.
See also: trainspotter, anorak, hacker, otaku

The philosophy of lainspotting

lain.jpg Since I won't be writing about lain so much anymore, why keep the old name? Like all terms or phrases worth anything, "lainspotting" can have more than one meaning. Before, it used to be about finding lain on the Wired (what they call the internet in serial experiments lain). Now, perhaps, "lainspotting" means seeing the world from Lain's point of view.

Lain is the main character of the series (which, like this journal, also deals with technology, culture, science, belief systems, human evolution, and alternate realities) and she is essentially the Goddess of the Wired--omnipresent, and the collective intelligence of all nodes of the network (or humanity) combined. Her perspective and knowledge is inherently multiple and situated at the same time, and that's what I'm trying to achieve with lainspotting.

Through this public space, conducive to linking and commentary, I hope to negotiate and engage with multiple perspectives and realities, while presenting my own particular (ever-shifting as they are) viewpoints. I think it's only fitting that Lain should serve as the patron saint of this journal. Welcome aboard, leave comments if you like, and see you on the Wired!